KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — The Ministry of Economy said today that its main focus will be to implement programmes that address the rising costs of living and raise wages.
Its minister Rafizi Ramli said in a statement that the ministry will take an integrated approach to tackle these two main issues faced by the public, amid a sluggish economy this year.
“The policies regarding the wages will be brought to the Economic Action Council (EAC) that will be chaired by the prime minister so that national policies are aligned towards a target of comprehensive wage growth among all workers,” he said.
The first EAC meeting is expected to be held this month.
He said the policies would take into account the economic slowdown in 2023, citing a predicted smaller growth of the global economy at 2.9 per cent compared to 3.4 per cent last year.
In addition, he also pointed out that the gross domestic product (GDP) had shown a decline in quarterly growth last year, from 3.8 per cent in the first quarter to -2.6 per cent in the fourth quarter.
Rafizi also announced that the ministry's said that his ministry's People's Income Initiative (IPR), one of the programmes towards these ends, would be launched on March 26.
He said the first targets of the IPR would be the hardcore poor and bottom 40 per cent (B40) households nationwide.
"In formulating our economic plans, the ministry will balance our focus on structuring the national economy with the economic needs of the people relating to the cost of living and higher wages," he said.
The IPR is a RM750 million programme aimed at training some 120,000 hardcore poor households to grow crops, sell cooked food and provide in-demand services to raise their income.
Under the IPR, participants will be given support in the form of training and monthly supplemental income of up to RM2,500 — depending on the programme — for up to two years.
Rafizi said during its launch that IPR’s primary goal is to create an “ecosystem” that would enable a long-term, income-generating programme for its participants that spans from retail to the entire supply chain.